By issuing his latest ultimatum to the titans of American industry, Barck Obama has demonstrated either contempt or incapacity for political sleight of hand. There was nothing unprecedented in this pronouncement, unless you were expecting a little more support for Main Street. Far from pulling the purse strings shut, Obama has begun to tie them around the government’s neck, issuing a 60-day timeline for further restructuring under the watchful eye of an executive appointed taskforce. After 30 years of GM’s failed restructuring, another two months under executive control is supposed to produce the blueprints for the lean, efficient, and competitive company that Obama is demanding. But don’t worry, if the plan is still inadequate at the end of the 60 day period, there will be no more blank checks, no more ultimatums. Nope, instead the channels will be cleared for fast bankruptcy procedures and GM will start its restructuring all over again.
Maybe it’s time we just jettison dead American industries, let their emblem vanish because the symbol of the American auto industry can no longer justify the pedestal on which we place it. Let’s face it, GM is no longer competitive. If it had spent even half the cash on creating a fuel-efficient car that it did on lobbying Congress to water down fuel economy standards, the company might not be in the shit position it’s in right now. There are other car companies better suited for our investment. Take Tata, an Indian company that just released the world’s smallest, cheapest, most fuel-efficient car. Maybe it’s time we start dropping our protectionist measures and open the American market to a $2,000 car that could be produced in re-tooled GM and Chrysler factories. Better yet, we could train an idle workeforce for the production of a viable public transportation infrastructure. Afterall, we’re not going to redefine America simply by uplifting antiquated industries.